'No threat' to adoptions of Vietnamese children

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THERE ARE no plans to suspend adoptions from Vietnam to the Republic, despite the indefinite suspension of adoptions from the southeast Asian country to the US because of corruption and exploitation of children, the Department of Health and Children has said.

The bilateral scheme between Vietnam and the United States was suspended after an investigation revealed instances of children being kidnapped and sold to families in the US and elsewhere.

The two-year-old adoption agreement expired last week after each side failed to resolve disagreements over the programme.

Some 440 Vietnamese children have been adopted in the Republic since a bilateral agreement between the two states came into force in May 2004.

A spokesman for the Minister for Children said that under the agreement, it was a matter for the Vietnamese authorities to determine that each child was legally available for adoption, and for the Irish Adoption Board to make sure that Irish applicants are eligible and suitable to adopt.

"While there are no plans to suspend adoptions from Vietnam at present, the Department of Health and Children will continue to monitor the situation," he added.

A state department statement said the US government was strongly committed to processing legitimate inter-country adoptions from Vietnam, and had indicated to the Vietnamese its interest in negotiating a new agreement.

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